A Good Father

By all accounts, Jane was a happy, content person. Upon attending a dance when she was 33 years old, she says this in a letter to Cassandra: “It was the same room in which we danced 15 years ago!—I thought it all over—& inspite [sic] of the shame of being so much older, felt with Thankfulness that I was quite as happy now as then.”

Some people are naturally lighthearted, and the Austens were known for having a happy nature and a cheerful outlook on life. However, this portion of Jane’s prayer provides a clue to a deeper source of joy and contentment. It speaks to the foundation of her life and mindset: a firm belief in God’s “Fatherly goodness.” In these lines, Jane thanks God for the comforts of her “past and present existence,” for “health of Body & of Mind,” and for “every other source of happiness.” She asks God to continue his goodness toward her and for “a more grateful sense” of the blessings in her life.

Jane prayed

We bless thee for every comfort of our past and present existence, for our health of Body & of Mind & for every other source of happiness which Thou hast bountifully bestowed on us & with which we close this day, imploring their continuance from Thy Fatherly goodness, with a more grateful sense of them, than they have hitherto excited.

Are there special blessings and comforts God has provided in your life?

 

Dodge, Rachel. Praying with Jane: 31 Days through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Baker Publishing Group.

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Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge is a Jane Austen scholar and the author of Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. She teaches college writing and literature classes and gives talks at local book clubs, libraries, and literary groups. Rachel is a regular contributor to Jane Austen’s World blog, Write That Book, Regency World Magazine, and the award-winning Inspire Writers blog. She was the keynote speaker at the Sacramento Public Library’s “How Austentatious!” series, Notable Books series, and 2014 Jane Austen Birthday Tea. Rachel is a graduate of the University of Southern California (B.A. in English and public relations) and California State University, Sacramento (M.A. in English literature). She wrote her Master’s Thesis on etiquette in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and won the 2005 Dominic J. Bazzanella Literary Award in non-fiction for “Pictures of (Im)perfection: Jane Austen’s ‘Delightful’ Elizabeth Bennet.” She is an active member of Inspire Writers, JASNA, JASNA Greater Sacramento, the L.M. Montgomery Institute, Write that Book, Literary Life, and several Downton Abbey and Jane Austen fan clubs.